Midtown stakeholders have mobilized to block city issued permits that would allow Tazmedia Group to digitize 4,000-square-foot of billboards on the side of and atop a building at 1655 Peachtree Street in Midtown.
The empty building is a well-known landmark to drivers on the Downtown Connector because of the giant peach on its roof. One of the billboards takes up the entire north face of the building, while another is underneath the peach.
Midtown Alliance, The Temple, Selig Enterprises and other stakeholders near the building have announced they are in support of an appeal that would block permits for the billboards. The city’s Board of Zoning Adjustment is set to meet on the issue June 6 at City Hall at noon.
According to Midtown Alliance CEO Kevin Green, the billboards are being marketed by Tazmedia Group as the “world’s largest.” Green said the massive LED billboards violate the city’s sign ordinance and would be distracting to drivers and impact neighbors.
Green said the 1960s-era, eight story building has been largely abandoned since 2005 after several attempts to turn it into condos. He said the building now exists as a “vessel to support the billboards.”
The current owners of the building, Peach Hospitality LLC, has indicated it plans to finish conversion to residences, but told Midtown Alliance that the billboards are owned independently of the building itself.
“We’ve tried to open up a line of communication with the billboard owners and they have never been cooperative,” Green said.
Green said Tazmedia Group won’t even recognize the billboards as advertising, but refers to them as “building identification signs” despite the fact that none of the companies featured in the advertisements actually occupy the empty building.
Curiously, shipping containers were moved into the building’s parking garage labeled with the names of the advertisers featured in the billboards, ostensibly as office space for the advertisers. “You can’t make this stuff up,” Green said.
Green said Tazmedia also owns the LED billboard along the Downtown Connector at Georgia Tech, which motorists have complained for years is too bright. “The billboard proposed at the building is 29 times larger than the one at Georgia Tech,” Green said.
In a report at Curbed Atlanta, Tazmedia President Geoff Anderson said in a statement “Our company did comply with the ordinance, [the signs] were legally permitted, they did not exceed the allowed sign size, and they are legal business-identification signs.”